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Artworks of Westfield

A Catalyst for Growth

Maybe you’ve already seen it. A dazzling, detail-packed mural welcoming people at one end of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail tunnel on Hedges Avenue and out the other on Ashley Street. It’s so wonderful, rumor has it one couple actually got married there.

The mural is called “Heroes are Everywhere,” and Westfield residents painted it under the creative guidance of artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne. “The energy was electric. You could see the smiles behind the masks. People were thrilled,” Bill Westerlind, ArtWorks Westfield President and Founder said, describing what it was like to see neighbors - during a pandemic - add their own swath of color to a collective piece of art.

The “Heroes…” mural is just one of many ways ArtWorks Westfield has made arts and culture a regular delight in the Whip City. Since its incorporation as a nonprofit in 2017, this Westfield-centered group of artists, business owners, and community members has hosted art walks, pumpkin fests, gallery shows, seasonal shows, holiday window walks, mini music festivals, downtown concerts, open mic poetry nights, free art classes, and more.

“I think over the last [few] years people have witnessed what we’ve been able to do and have embraced us,” Westerlind said. That’s why, despite the counterforce of a lingering pandemic, this arts enthusiast looks confidenly toward the future. “Certainly the arts and cultural industry has just been decimated by [coronavirus], but ArtWorks is alive and well. We have so many ideas that 2021 is shaping up to be one of our biggest years ever. We’re planning on the assumption that we’ll all be looking at COVID in the rearview mirror.”

For one thing, ArtWorks has already scheduled another mural, this one to be painted in May near the esplanade by the twin bridges on North Elm Street. It’s to be called, “Westfield is Fantastic,” and, though created and overseen by artists, it’ll be brushed in with help from kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

Also targeted for May, Westerlind said, “We would love to kick off the post-COVID world with our Articulture event. That would be awesome.”

Awesome indeed!

Planned - and then cancelled - for Amelia Park in 2020, Articulture 2021 promises to bring gallery artists, performers, dancers, musicians, photographers, and authors together under one, huge roof in an arts fair that will literally offer something magical, enchanting, whimsical, or moving for everyone.

“It’s been documented in study after study that no community experiences economic revival without a base of art and culture,” said Westerlind, whose day job is sales and marketing for C&S Wholesale Grocers.

“Art and culture is the fabric of a community. It revives you. It brings balance to life. There’s something special to everyone, individually, when they look at a piece of art, when they listen to a piece of music, when they [hear] a live poetry reading,” he said. “Now those experiences can be had right here in Westfield.”

The ArtWorks mission, “…to create and promote the widest variety of cultural arts, literary arts, musical events, and performing arts for the Westfield community…” uses art to unify Westfield residents through shared experiences, stories, emotions, and beauty. All events are free but, Westerlind said, ArtWorks needs support to continue to thrive. Coronavirus has made arts funding weaker than ever, so consider showing your love with a Valentine’s donation. If the pandemic has left your own funds thin, no worries. You can also support ArtWorks by volunteering - or simply by participating in their inspired events.

Those who want to donate, volunteer, or get updates on ArtWorks’ newest surprises can join the 1,800 people who already follow them on Facebook. Or, simply visit for more information.

Suggested pull quote:

“There’s something special to everyone, individually, when they look at a piece of art, when they listen to a piece of music, when they [hear] a live poetry reading. Now those experiences can be had right here in Westfield.”

  • Bill Westerlind

ArtWorks Westfield president and founder

  • Cheryl Crowe, Amy Delores, Andrew Surprise, Bill Westerlind